Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim.
As-salam alaykum warahmatullah W Barakat uh
THE MUSLIM ENTREPRENEUR SERIES
Before recently, only little was heard of Muslim business owners in our society. Of course, the likes of Dangote, Dantata, and a few other tycoons were known for their business acumen and wealth as a result. The general Muslim community was bereft of a sizeable amount of leading CEOs. Although excelling in any chosen endeavor should be the real intention of all Muslims, at school, at work, at whatever you set out to do, striving to be the best of what you possibly could be is no question a component of being Muslim. No doubt, the Muslim entrepreneur faces unique challenges in a non-Muslim society and finding the balance can be daunting. Networking with other businesses or business owners who dominate the business space in our society today, whether the Muslim should interact or isolate themselves from the larger sphere and have its own niche operating within the safety of our terrain. It will seem that the best approach would not be isolating ourselves, or assimilating just about anything, the right thing to do would seem to be selective interaction guarding against what is Haram. The Muslim community in Nigeria today is recording larger base of Muslim entrepreneurs, daring to break the barriers and entering fields such as fashion, telecommunication, agriculture and much more. And there are business mentorship classes organized for Muslims from time to time by Muslim entrepreneurs who have already crossed the hurdle.
WHAT DRIVES THE MUSLIM ENTREPRENEUR
There is ample evidence from the Quran and Sunnah urging us on to excellence, as Islam teaches us to enjoy life and travel the world in accordance with our role as the justly balanced people, the vicegerent of Allah on earth. We are very entitled to all the good and excellence that this life can offer while maintaining our duty towards Allah and keeping our faith guarded. Allah SWT is excellent, his creation is majestic, the world runs on such order it is impeccable and the wisdom and work behind it will never be encompassed in our knowledge though we recognize bits of it, we enjoy the beautiful world, water and sights that Allah has created in his magnificence, it is by no means mediocre, its beauty is perfection and Allah exalts Himself in sura Al-Mulk verses 3-4 saying ‘Who hath created seven heavens in harmony. Thou canst see no fault in the Beneficient One’s creation; then look again; Canst thou sees any rifts. Then look again and yet again, thy sight will return unto thee weakened and made dim.’ The truth is with such excellence in Allah as our creator, no less is expected from mankind, especially from the Muslims, we cannot be mediocre in whatever it is we do as Muslims, we are to outdo all others in excellence.
Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf
Draw inspiration from this excellent businessman, a merchant by profession, his story stands out in the history of Islam for his business acumen, money, and generosity. Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf would be rightly named the father of business in Islam. He was of the early Muslims and when the Muslims migrated to Madinah in the earlier days of Islam, and were lodged in the houses of the Ansars until they could set up their own homes. Abdur-Rahman was paired up with Sa’ad Ibn Ar-Rabi’ah who was one of the wealthiest men of Madinah. The host said to his guest out of generosity ‘My brother, among the people of Medina, I have the most wealth. I have two orchards and I have two wives. See which of the two orchards you like and I shall vacate it for you, and which of my two wives is pleasing to you and I shall divorce her for you’. To which Abdur-Rahman responded ‘May Allah bless you with your family and wealth. But show me where the marketplace is.’ He did not wish to burden his host or anyone, wishing to take no gift or loan from anyone and he believed that in finding the market, opportunities would be open for him to earn a living. Being the son of a seasoned businessman, he had the sense to look around for opportunities and thrive on such opportunities. This is in no small measure an attestation to his inherent business acumen. He sold many types of commodities and his creativity and ingenuity saw his profits growing rapidly. Allah blessed him in no small measure, as his wealth expanded to touch a number of industries including agriculture.
He was one of ten companions whom the prophet SAW gave glad tidings of entering paradise; his generosity was second to only one, the prophet SAW. In spite of his worldly success, he was not denied entry into paradise, he achieved balance. Excellence in our worldly matters is enjoined on us as is excellence in matters of our Deen just as we recite ‘‘RABBANA ATINA FID DUNYA HASANATAN WA FIL AKHIRATI HASANATAN WAQINA ADHABAN NAAR’ . ‘O MY LORD, PLEASE GRANT ME THE BEST OF THIS WORLD AND THE BEST OF THE WORLD OF THE HEREAFTER, AND SAVE ME FROM THE TORMENT OF THE FIRE’.
OWNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Common to all successful businessmen is the ability to identify opportunities, demand and identifying a market. One of the reasons why one person might succeed over another is how he uses his sixth sense to identify what is in demand, opportunities, and how he can make supply to a ready market. Demand can become flexible, and stay rigid is not really favourable if you want to seize opportunities in business, changing demands would require flexible commodities or services if your business wealth is to grow rapidly.
It is not unusual for businesses to experience a rocky start, yours inclusive, managing the challenges particularly of the first year is a matter of determination and the goal you have set for your business, so do not be discouraged. Take time to identify what you will supply, a good business location and a ready market, so that the challenge of your new business is justified and only learning processes, not a frustration trap. Where you locate your business is a crucial part of what your profit will look like.
WHAT YOU NEED TO BE A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR
- INTENTION; It is narrated on the authority of Amir al-Mu’minin (Leader of the Believers), Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), say: “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” on the basis of the above hadith, it is clear that intentions take the lead before our actions. It is no different for the intending Muslim entrepreneur, you should prepare your intention as seeking Allah’s pleasure , while also seeking your means of sustenance through meeting the demand of the society you live in , in the form of providing services.
- FAITH; As Muslims, our faith is the source of our striving for all good. Having faith in Allah that you will not fail in spite of your challenges is a great mental push. As Allah says in Quran 12vs87 ‘Certainly, no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy except the people who disbelieve’. Many verses abound of Allah’s reassurance to the believers, having the backing of the most Benevolent; most Gracious should put your mind at ease.
- RESILIENCE; A tenacious, persevering spirit is the way to course through repeated failure. An attitude involving the determination that outlasts any temporary failure or disappointments. An invincible approach to the uncertainties that starting up your own business can come with, makes resilience a must have in your toolbox.
- PASSION; Your new business idea should be hinged on the shoulders of something you love to do, something you believe in, something that tickles your own fancy. You ought to be so convinced of its worth that you naturally sell it to the other person. When passion fuels your business, there’s no stopping you. If selling clothes, shoes and fashion accessories are what makes your heart skip, selling foodstuffs or textbooks, may not get you to the peak of success and fulfillment that you should have. Because when the challenges surface, you will simply lack the zeal to carry on selling. Passion and fulfillment at your business work hand in hand.
- VISION; Looking to become an entrepreneur, one of your defining traits would be the ability to spot an opportunity before anyone else and envisage what opportunities lie ahead and your zeal to take it. Entrepreneurs often face naysayers; this is because as an entrepreneur you are able to see the prospects before it plays out glaringly.
TO BE CONTINUED IN SHAA ALLAAH!
Written By Umm AbdulHakeem